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Rape Survivors in Morocco Struggle to Balance Trauma, Social Taboos

Source : | 1 April 2021 |  News | 3695 views

Rabat – A group of lawyers in charge of defending rape survivors gathered today for a press conference in Morocco’s capital city ofRabat to highlight the struggle and difficulties that survivors face in their everyday life.Morocco has witnessed a significant number of rape cases recently, with several perpetrators now behind bars.During the press conference, the lawyers expressed their unconditional support for the sexually abused women and asserted that the Moroccan state and society lack moral and materialistic means for providing sufficient mental and financial support.The defense committee unanimously affirmed that the compensation the survivors received, who now suffer ongoing mental trauma due to sexual abuse, do not cover the harm or cure the burden they will carry for the rest of their lives.The conference was also an opportunity for storytelling with the aim of instilling moral values in civil society. Among these are compassion and understanding for survivors, who have become marginalized due to society’s point of view regarding their unfortunate experiences.As the conservative Moroccan society considers opening up about sexual abuse or assault as taboo, survivors of sexual assault and rape often opt to stay silent.Narrating her own story, Hafsa Boutahar, a journalist who used to work at the same media company as her alleged rapist, OmarRadi, said that offensive comments and the way Moroccans view her consumes her from the inside out. Boutahar blamed society for unnecessary suffering. “I was not only subject to sexual abuse but also abuse of rights and societal abuse,” she said.Boutahar also condemned certain media for not backing her up in her case, instead siding with her rapist.The lawyers also invited a second rape survivor, Asmae Halaoui, who similarly to Boutahar decried the societal taboos.“The problem we have in this society is that in the event of rape or sexual assault, women are the ones to blame,” said Halaoui. “Our role as surviving rape victims is to help other victims break the taboo and open up about their experiences without being afraid of the family or the society.”The survivors unanimously said that once a woman is subject to rape, her life turns upside down and she may even lose her job and enter into a state of depression as a result of the long-lasting mental effects of sexual abuse.Read also: #Masaktach Movement Gives Voices to Rape Victims

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